Venice | The Geneva Convention: Venice

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Venice

Doge's Palace, Venice
Doge's Palace, Venice
St. Mark's Square, Venice
St. Mark's Square, Venice
Doge's Palace, Venice
St. Mark's Basilica, Venice
Gran Canal, Venice
St. Mark's Square, Venice
St. Mark's Square, Venice
Venice at Night
Venice at Night

I came to Venice without any historical background for it. I must admit, having some makes me like the city more -- the way they built it in order to better defend themselves and remain free, the way they increased their wealth through trade, and the fact that they never did the whole hereditary monarchy thing. Pretty admirable.

These days, it's very tourist-oriented, which is a little disappointing. I don't know how keen I am to visit for a third time, but I will say that I really enjoyed myself on my second. A couple days ago I described wandering the city and getting lost, which is one of the things you're supposed to do in Venice (really, it's impossible not to!). But we did more than that.

We toured the Doge's Palace and Saint Mark's Cathedral (sadly, no pictures on the interior of either of those, so you'll have to take my word for it that they are breathtaking and definitely worth a visit). We walked over the Gran Canal on the famous Rialto, also obligatory, and saw some of these places at night. We did have one amazing experience that puts the rest to shame, however: singing evening Mass at Saint Mark's. I'm not Catholic and I don't speak Italian, but I needed neither to appreciate the way a choir sounds in a cavernous cathedral. It still gives me shivers to think about.

We spent our last night in Italy at a farewell dinner with some of the best food on the entire trip and bottomless carafes of wine. A large French family celebrating a grandmother's birthday was in the adjoining room and started making requests when we joined in with their chorus of "Happy Birthday". When they left, it was time for toasts and tears. Tours are such a bittersweet experience, even more so as a senior, but in this case the sweet far outweighs the bitter -- we're a big, singing family, and we always will be.

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